To commemorate Silence is Violence Night, someone posted signs around town that said simply, "Crime Happened Here," and under the slogan, the date and the crime. It's a startling graphic way of marking how much crime takes place and where it happens, and it reminds us that the police know where crime happens because they keep records (theoretically) and we don't. The next day, some neighbors fretted about the signs because they worried they'd affect someone's effort to sell their house. They issue evidently didn't bother them enough to be glad the sign's up, nor did have the common sense to take the signs down. After all, Silence is Violence Night was over. It was better to grouse and feel put upon than to deal with the signs in one way or another.
Today's Times-Picayune picks up a similar thought. Jefferson Parish officials now want to regulate roadside memorials for traffic-related fatalities:
Scheduled for a vote at Wednesday's Parish Council meeting, the ordinance would require council approval before a memorial could be erected on public property.
The flowers and crosses would have to be removed after 90 days and would be limited to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Anyone erecting a memorial without a permit could face criminal charges under the ordinance, which, if adopted, would become part of a nationwide crackdown on roadside memorials in recent years.
That means you'd have to wait for a parish council meeting to get approval for expressions of grief. And there's nothing grieving family members really want to do more than bang heads with parish-level politicians. The article continues:
D.J. Mumphrey, an executive assistant to Broussard, said the proposal addresses persistent complaints about roadside markers that have remained years after the crash or are so elaborate that they interfere with drivers' sight lines.
"We are sensitive to the desire of families to memorialize their loved ones," he said. "But some of these things have been up for years and years and are so big that they become a safety hazard."
If there really are crazy-huge memorial markets somewhere nearby, I want a map because I want to see them. Obviously it sounds like the main issue is Jeff Parish residents worried about their property values, but I wonder if there isn't also another issue at play. Could hostility to roadside memorials also have something to do with our culture's unease with grief, and even people who dealt with Katrina-related loss would rather have others who lost loved ones get over it and move on.